THEOSOPHY, Vol. 42, No. 7, May, 1954
(Pages 301-304; Size: 14K)
(Number 1 of a 6-part series)

THE MYSTERY OF INDIVIDUALITY

I: THE "IMPRISONED" MONAD

It is indivisible yet appeareth as divisible among creatures. 

--Bhagavad-Gita
THEOSOPHICAL students often experience feelings akin to despair and frustration whenever earnestly attempting to understand the teachings of Theosophy on the subject of evolution, human and cosmic. One problem is no sooner "solved" than the hydra head of several new, more alarming ones takes its place.

The chief difficulty probably lies in the endeavor to grasp with the brain-mind a drama which can never be satisfactorily comprehended until all one's powers, mental, psychic, and spiritual, are in full flower. No more than a child can adequately appreciate the state called "adulthood," can the average man possessed of but the germ of self-consciousness fathom what is self-evident to a sage. However, for one to admit to a certain degree of uncertainty on these subjects seems highly commendable, especially when the admission is followed by further search. Those only err who, preferring mental quietude to indecision, cease to dwell on the problem, or become content with dogmas. H. P. Blavatsky remarks that "the purely and transcendentally spiritual conceptions are adapted only to the perceptions of those who 'see without eyes, hear without ears, and sense without organs,' ..." (S.D. II, 81.)

...the student must not expect to find ... an account of all the stages and transformations which intervene between the first beginnings of "Universal" evolution and our present state. To give such an account would be as impossible as it would be incomprehensible to men who cannot even grasp the nature of the plane of existence next to that to which, for the moment, their consciousness is limited. (S.D. I, 20.)
Another stumbling block to understanding, growing out of the first, is the tendency to fasten literal interpretations to statements and to examine them independent of the universal background of the extended Theosophical message. An illustration is easily provided. The author of The Secret Doctrine speaks of her difficulty in describing the "stages" through which the Monad passes:
Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the "development" of a Monad, or to say that it becomes "Man." But any attempt to preserve metaphysical accuracy of language in the use of such a tongue as the English would necessitate at least three extra volumes of this work, and would entail an amount of verbal repetition which would be wearisome in the extreme. (S.D. I, 174 fn.)
This is a familiar statement, perhaps, but how many, having read it, will nevertheless exclaim after studying the peregrinations of the Monad through the lower kingdoms: "Oh! So we do come up from the minerals and vegetables after all." The thought of a Monad crawling up from a mineral to a plant, an insect, a mammal, is difficult to eradicate from the student mind, owing perhaps to certain mental fixations derived from materialistic teachings on evolution.

Before passing to other problems -- all of them, in truth, revolving around the mystery of individuality -- it may be of assistance to gather a number of propositions from The Secret Doctrine, all tending to suggest that the Monad never was, never will be, and never can be fully "imprisoned" in the lower kingdoms, while at the same time the Monad, as consciousness and intelligence, is the hidden, impelling power behind all evolution, inasmuch as it is impossible for matter to exist in differentiated form independent of this ensouling essence. Only that which is immortal and unmodifiable can be the vivifying agent behind the endless modifications in great nature. William Q. Judge calls special attention to the statement from The Secret Doctrine (I, 171) that "as the evolution of the Globes and that of the Monads are so closely interblended, we will make of the two teachings one." He adds:

This is laid down with extreme clearness and should not be forgotten. It is not expanded so that inattentive minds may get it through much repetition, but it is postulated once for all. It is still altogether too customary for students to separate the Monads, first from the globes and then from the beings thereon. They cannot be thus divided off. All the globes and their objects are and ever will be monads in evolution.... The false notion should at once be discarded that there was a time when there were no monads on the globe .... the globe is the creation of the monad ..." (THEOSOPHY 2: 157.) [Note: This is one of the many items in Mr. Judge's series of articles entitled "Hidden Hints in The Secret Doctrine". I have placed the two links to the entire series at the end of this article, along with noting the exact reference location. --Compiler.]
We must remember, too, that the physical side of life is not the underprivileged portion, for in its higher essence it is as divine and omniscient as any other part. In this connection one can refer to The Secret Doctrine for discussion of the three lines of evolution, the spiritual or monadic, the intellectual, and the physical, which "are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point":
The Monad or Jiva per se cannot be even called spirit: it is a ray, a breath of the ABSOLUTE, or the Absoluteness rather, and the Absolute Homogeneity, having no relations with the conditioned and relative finiteness, is unconscious on our plane... (S.D. I, 247.)

It stands to reason that a MONAD cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of states it passes through. It is not of this world or plane, and may be compared only to an indestructible star of divine light and fire, thrown down to our Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it indwells. It is for the latter to cling to it; and thus partaking of its divine nature, obtain immortality. Left to itself the Monad will cling to no one; but, like the "plank," be drifted away to another incarnation by the unresting current of evolution. (S.D. I, 174-5 fn.)

Owing to its identity with the ALL-FORCE, which ... is inherent in the Monad, it is all-potent on the Arupa, or formless plane. On our plane, its essence being too pure, it remains all-potential, but individually becomes inactive ... (S.D. II, 110.)

With respect to the monadic consciousness within the mindless man, prior to the lighting of mind, H.P.B. implies that the Monad has not even in that high form of animal intelligence found a direct channel for expression.
Their physical bodies belonging to the Earth, their Monads remained on a higher plane altogether. (S.D. II, 199.)

...the spiritual Monad ... could never dwell in such a form otherwise than in an absolutely latent state ... (S.D. II, 79.)

The "Lunar Monads" cannot progress, for they have not yet had sufficient touch with the forms created by "Nature" to allow of their accumulating experiences through its means. It is the Manasa-Dhyanis who fill up the gap, and they represent the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between "Spirit" and "Matter" -- in this Round. (S.D. I, 181-2.)

H.P.B. was once asked: "Can there be Consciousness without Mind?" "Not on this plane of matter," was the reply. If the Monad is another name for Consciousness, or Atma-Buddhi, we can make our own deductions. In The Secret Doctrine she wrote:
The Monad is impersonal and a god per se, albeit unconscious on this plane. For, divorced from its third ... principle, Manas, which is the horizontal line of the first manifested triangle or trinity, it can have no consciousness or perception of things on this earthly plane. "The highest sees through the eyes of the lowest" in the manifested world; Purusha (Spirit) remains blind without the help of Prakriti (Matter) in the material spheres; and so does Atma-Buddhi without Manas. (S.D. II, 123 fn.)
All Monads, then, are apparently in one of two stages. They are either Atma-Buddhi or Atma-Buddhi-Manas. They can never be anything less. If Manas alone of the higher triad is to some degree incarnated in our race, and Atma-Buddhi is available to us solely through Manas, how can it ever be imagined that the Monad can reach below the plane of mind? To use an expression, we can say (with many qualifications), that the Monad "descends" gradually into matter. When farthest "removed," therefore, we call it a mineral Monad. It is imprisoned only in the sense that it is unable to find a direct channel of expression in that kingdom. When it becomes more manifest we speak of the Monad in the vegetable stage of development, then in the animal, and eventually in the kingdom of mindless man. But it never contacts matter until it is Atma-Buddhi-Manas, a human Monad, and even here we do not have a direct contact save through the manasic principle as agent. The Monad is the Perceiver, is vision itself, pure and simple, and it looks directly on ideas.
As the Logos reflects the Universe in the Divine Mind, and the manifested Universe reflects itself in each of its Monads ... so the MONAD has, during the cycle of its incarnations, to reflect in itself every root-form of each kingdom. (S.D. II, 186.)
So the Monad only reflects the root types of each kingdom. It does not "become" the kingdoms, any more than a man going on a journey and observing all he views, becomes what he sees. Can we not appreciate, then, that it makes no difference to the Monad in what state it appears to be: mineral, vegetable, or animal, since all states are in one sense the same -- locations for transition.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

As consciousness bears witness to itself, or as separateness bears out separateness, so is illusion sufficient, of itself to bear out itself and everything it contains. This indeed is Illusion, capable of bringing about things and events beyond conception, -- it deludes all in the whirl of its illusive action. 


--SVARAJYASIDDHI



[Note: Here are the two links to William Q. Judge's important series of articles, entitled "Hidden Hints in The Secret Doctrine", that was quoted from by the Editors in the above article, when the reference was to THEOSOPHY magazine. The different sections are all presented sequentially, listing the volume and page number, and are easy to find. The excerpts quoted in the above article are Mr. Judge speaking about the reference from page 171, Volume I, line 1, which was also quoted in the above article, and are found in this link: "Hidden Hints in The Secret Doctrine--Part I", in the section entitled "FromPAGES 160 To 184, Vol. I"; they are found in the 6th and 7th paragraphs of the 9 in that section. Here is the link to "Part II" of the series. --Compiler.]

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THE MYSTERY OF INDIVIDUALITY
II: THE MONAD AS A UNIT
(Part 2 of a 6-part series)

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